Per Shams Charania of the Athletic, the Clippers are signing wing Jamel Artis to a partially guaranteed contract. Artis is a 25 year old wing who played 15 games for the Magic last year, averaging 5.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 18.6 minutes per game. He seems like a fringe NBA wing with some nice athleticism, but I don’t know too much else about him at this point to be honest.
This signing is definitely somewhat surprising. The Clippers have too many roster players already, and need to make cuts, not additions. However, there could be a simple answer to this: by signing Artis (to an Exhibit 10 deal), they could then waive him and give him a bonus for signing with Agua Caliente, keeping him in the organization. That would check off the “partially guaranteed” part, and also explain why they’re signing him now.
This does raise the possibility of an upcoming trade, especially with the updates from the Jimmy Butler situation in Minnesota today. However, there haven’t been any rumblings of the Clippers making renewed efforts to get Butler, and while the Wolves may have lowered their demands, I’m not sure it would have come together this quickly. Also, even if a trade is coming, Artis probably isn’t going anywhere, so it doesn’t make all that much sense to sign him first.
Really, I think this is just a tiny move for the Clippers to get the rights to a player they like, nothing more.